Wednesday 14 April 2010

Manic Fortnight

Yep! Shep has had a manic fortnight. The inclement weather at the very end of March saw the start of it, then off night lambing in Scotland on the 1st April.

I have a habit of committing myself to things with little regard of my own well being or sanity, this lambing time was no different.

A night lambing is one thing but I had volunteered to return to Tarset everyday to keep an eye on a flock of sheep which were lambing there also, however, I had stipulated right from the off set, from the day the tup went to the ewes, that I was only available for ten days. They were a very long ten days.

The elderly sheep keeper whom had been involved in a sheep trampling incident in mid December was the person I was assisting.

Now they say tiredness can kill, it’s true. There was one evening in particular I could have cheerfully throttled this old dear with my bare hands. You’ll be pleased to hear I refrained from doing so, drove to Scotland like I was possessed by the devil himself and had a Status Quo fix at full volume showing no regard what so ever for the elderly couple in the cottage next door – a truly selfish moment but one which I relished all the same!

It is necessary when over committing oneself to set priorities. These were relatively easy. I was getting paid to work in Scotland, therefore my priorities had to lie there, and no matter how late the morning was getting I would not leave and head south until all was well. I would then find myself in Tarset an hour later, deal with whatever misdemeanours were going on at that end and head for my bed by dinner time. Rising by 5pm to eat and head back to the Tarset sheep, sort any problems, drive for an hour and get back into Scotland to spend my night in the shed. – Great fun!!

The 10th April saw the over commitment of them all. I really did push the boat out this time.

By this date the better half had concluded I was getting weary, didn’t know what day of the week it was, couldn’t find the simplest of items and struggled to speak in a coherent manner. In actual fact I thought this was pretty observant of him as I’m sure I’m like that most of the time anyway!

And so, a couple of days previous he had offered to feed these sheep first thing in the morning, to save me feeding them in the late morning, he would also text me to let me know of any problems. Mobile coverage is poor at both ends but get onto a hill top and its fine, there are plenty of hill tops around here and as I was feeding the hill ewes in the morning I would receive a text filling me in on the goings on of the Tarset sheep. Very convenient. A good text meant I could head straight for home and bed – bliss!!

The 10th April I had agreed to head into the Rede valley and gather some hill ewes for a farmer I work for, I had warned him it could be lunch time at the latest, and so it was, the text that morning was not a good one. To cut a long story short I found myself hitting the sack at 4.30pm, near enough 24 hours from last being there. Two hours was all I could afford before setting off on my ‘rounds’ again. I stopped on the way to Scotland and bought a frozen roast dinner to shove in the microwave, it seemed a long time since my porridge at 6am.

The frozen dinner proved to be a rubbery affair; it was hot though and did hit the edges. I most definitely wouldn’t like to have to eat too many of them though.

Needless to say the 10th of April saw my ten days assistance in Tarset draw to a close, I travelled home for a further two days to gather bits and pieces, sort out any necessities at that end before finally departing for good into Scotland. A fortnights night lambing was drawing to a close, my car could have a rest (having clocked up nearly 1,000 miles and gaining a few rattles) and I could go to bed at night, rise in the morning and settle to what I enjoy doing – lambing those wild cheviots.